Monday 9 December 2019

Five Irish players players included in our Six Nations team of the week

Sam Simmonds, Leigh Halfpenny and James Ryan were among the top performers
Sam Simmonds, Leigh Halfpenny and James Ryan were among the top performers

Cormac Byrne

Five Irish players have made the best XV from the opening round of games in the 2018 Six Nations.

Despite dominating possession and territory, Ireland were forced to rely on a miracle 42 metre drop goal from Jonathan Sexton in the 83rd minute of their encounter with France in Paris.

Sexton touched the ball 15 times in the 41 phase attack which saw him kick a retrieved drop out and execute a perfectly judged cross-kick before his pièce de résistance.

The number 10 was an automatic pick in the team of the week and was joined by two Irishmen making their Six Nations debuts.

Bundee Aki brought a real physical edge to the Irish backline and was powerful in attack and defence throughout the game while James Ryan was quite simply immense during his 68 minutes on the field. He's just 21 years of age.

Iain Henderson's performance also warranted his inclusion. He carried brilliantly throughout the game and was pivotal in setting up Sexton's heroics at the end.

Guilhem Guirado would have been the man of the match at the Stade de France had it not been for Sexton's late show. His tackle count and tireless display was inspirational.

Wales are rewarded for their thumping win over Scotland with four players in the team.

Gareth Davies is picked at scrumhalf thanks to his intercept try and his sniping display,Steff Evans' incredible finish warrants his inclusion, Aaron Shingler was the best blindside on display over the weekend and Leigh Halfpenny's brace and accurate kicking was enough to secure him a full-back berth.

The remainder of the side is made up of players from Eddie Jones' England outfit. Sam Simmonds impressed in Billy Vunipola's absence, both English props excelled and the attacking duo of Anthony Watson and Ben Te'o tormented Italy.

No players from Scotland or Italy made the grade.'s Six Nations Team of the Week:

15. Leigh Halfpenny (WALES)

14. Anthony Watson (ENGLAND)

13. Ben Te'o (ENGLAND)

12. Bundee Aki (IRELAND)

11. Steff Evans (WALES)

10. Johnny Sexton (IRELAND)

9. Gareth Davies (WALES)

8. Sam Simmonds (ENGLAND)

7. Dan Leavy (IRELAND)

6. Aaron Shingler (WALES)

5. James Ryan (IRELAND)

4. Iain Henderson (IRELAND)

3. Dan Cole (ENGLAND)

2. Guilhem Guirado (FRANCE)

1. Mako Vunipola (ENGLAND)

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